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RIDGE AT WESTMINSTER ABBEY, 7 MAY, 1885.
INAUGURAL ADDRESS ON ASSUMING THE PRESIDENCY OF THE BIRMINGHAM AND MIDLAND INSTITUTE, BIRMINGHAM, ENGLAND, 6 OCTOBER, 1884.
He must be a born leader or misleader of men, or must have been sent into the world unfurnished with that modulating and restraining balance wheel which we call a sense of humor, who, in old age, has as strong a confidence in his opinions and in the necessity of bringing the universe into conformity with them as he had in youth. In a world the very condition of whose being is that it should be in perpetual flux, where all seems mirage, and the one abiding thing is the effort to distinguish realities from appearances, the elderly man must be indeed of a singularly tough and valid fibre who is certain that he has any clarified residuum of experience, any assured verdict of reflection, that deserves to be called an opinion, or who, even if he had, feels that he is justified in holding mankind by the button while he is expounding it. And in a world